Northwest NEWS

September 30, 2002

Editorial

Woodinville is in danger of losing control of its destiny

(Copy of a letter sent to Woodinville City Council)
   As a longtime resident of Woodinville, and a property owner along the Woodinville-Snohomish Road, both inside and outside of the Woodinville city limits, I have to express my concern about the "Brightwater" Sewer project.
   We have been told by the site selection committee, that the entire sewer project requires somewhere around 25 acres of land, yet Brightwater wants to take 110-plus acres of prime high value, high tax generating land, that is zoned Light Industrial.
   This is the north entry to Woodinville, and this is the very land that is most critical to Woodinville's ultimate development, tax base, and future growth!
   The real question that I have to pose tonight, has to do with the City Council of Woodinville's implementation of the City's Comprehensive Plan vision for a "compact, inviting town that is attractive and functional."
   Let me explain:
   Long-time residents will remember very vividly that several years ago, King County purchased the land on N.E. 190th Street (where the Greenbrier residential development is being built today), and began plans to build a solid waste transfer station on that site. We heard the same rhetoric then as the Brightwater Sewer project is giving us now - state of the art, beautiful landscaping, a good neighbor policy, view trips to other state of the art facilities, many citizen involvement groups, and on and on. Woodinville residents united and stopped that development.
   A couple of years later, King Country next attempted to build a regional correctional facility (at that time it was called a "Jail") on that very same site. We heard the same rhetoric again: It would be a state of the art facility, there would be substantial landscaping, good neighbors, they offered us view trips to other state-of-the-art facilities, many citizen involvement groups, and on and on. Woodinville residents united, and again stopped that development, too.
   We were able to get both of these unwanted and undesirable improvements stopped for two reasons: (1) we were able to apply direct political pressure and (2) we had the zoning conditions in our favor.
   Now, we can take another look at this proposed site in Grace for the Brightwater sewage plant. We are getting the same rhetoric: It would be a state of the art facility, there would be substantial landscaping, we have been given view trips of other facilities, they want to be a good neighbor, lots of citizen involvement groups, and on and on.
   But the problem is, that the two tools that Woodinville residents had in their favor before, are now strikes against us: (1) There is no political accountability because of the cross-county trick with Metro's involvement, and (2) the land, is in fact zoned for light industry.
   Now, let's assume that Brightwater does decide to use the Grace site. The sewage plant may well in fact, take 25 to 35 acres and will be heavily landscaped.
   But now Metro will own 60 to 70 acres of prime, flat, 100 percent buildable, vacant land that is available for any other "Essential Public Services."
   This land is zoned properly, is inside of the Urban Growth Area, has adequate roads, water, sewer, and most importantly, has no city controls, and no political responsibility.
   In the view of King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties, this site is the perfect solution to their age-old problem that they have been wrestling with for many years: where and how can they locate other "Essential Public Services."
   A transfer station, a regional correctional center, half-way houses that require industrial zoning and a whole host of other unwanted uses are potentially on our doorstep.
   I am sorry, but I cannot accept any of Brightwater's promises to do otherwise.
   I believe that if Metro is allowed to take this site, Woodinville will become a second class city with undesirable development capping our only avenue of future growth and the city of Woodinville will lose all control of our destiny.
   I am asking the Woodinville City Council to go on record as being adamantly opposed to this Brightwater sewer plant and to do everything in their power to stop this development.
   Terry Jarvis, via e-mail